Stories of the movement to end brain tumours

This collection of personal stories feature many inspiring people whose lives have been affected by a brain tumour. You will find stories about how patients and families find strength and hope, stories of perseverance and giving back to make an impact

We are honoured to be able to share these stories and say 'Thank You' to everyone who has shared and for everything you do to help the movement to end brain tumours.

Margaret

Margaret's Story of Hope

Margaret shared her story of hope at the Brain Tumour National Conference on Saturday, October 20, 2018, and it is our pleasure to share this video story of her dad's diagnosis, treatment and recovery from a brain tumour, followed by her own diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Hayden’s Story: The eyes have it.

Hayden’s Story: The eyes have it.

Eyes might be the window to the soul, but in Hayden’s case, they were telling her Mom that something was seriously wrong with her baby. Hayden’s Mom, Candice, is forever grateful to the ER physician who spotted her brain tumour and the health care professional team who subsequently saved her eyesight. Candice is now advocating for every parent to look to the eyes.

Tracey’s Story: Hope and Optimism

Tracey’s Story: Hope and Optimism

Headaches are like house guests. Some come and go. Others don’t want to leave; and become a real nuisance. Tracey’s headache lasted a full 6 months but it still wasn’t enough of a warning sign. What she had was a tumour in her brain, discovered when it caused hydrocephalus, put her in a coma for two days and she was just hours from death. Four brain surgeries later, Tracey is here to tell her story, and importantly, how she found ways to remain optimistic in the face of grave adversity.

Andrew’s Story of being tough

Andrew’s Story of being tough

What do you see when you look in the mirror? When Andrew’s friend looked at him, he saw an immensely tough person and wanted to let Andrew know. Andrew wanted to see those words when he looked in the mirror, as his own private message. Andrew has since dedicated his time and energy into setting up a charity to help other cancer patients, incredible for someone battling brain cancer since 2011.

Debbie’s Story: A Family of Caregivers

Debbie’s Story: A Family of Caregivers

Within seconds of sitting down with Debbie, I had learnt that she had a brain tumour, her husband had kidney cancer, her eldest daughter was born with a physical disability affecting her mobility and then her youngest daughter, Debbie called her “the healthy one”, also had a brain tumour. At some point, each of them has learnt to care for each other.

Donna

Donna's Story - Skating through life with a brain tumour

Donna started skating as a child. Aged 15, she began to coach and continued to skate for 37 years. She had motor skills, she had balance. She also had a tumour growing in her brain. Donna’s brain tumour, a juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma, had probably been in her brain since she was eight years old. Due to a lack of symptoms, it wasn’t discovered until she was 44 years old. When it was discovered, it was almost fatal.

Lisa

Lisa's Story of Hope

Meet Lisa Clarke: a wife, a mother, a community volunteer, and a brain tumour survivor with an uncanny ability to find the bright side in any situation. On a morning like any other, Lisa opened her mouth to say goodbye as her husband left for work, and found that she was at a complete loss for words. “I couldn’t get any sound to come out… It was scary. When I finally did, it was completely garbled.”

Stephanie

Stephanie's Story: Youth Education Award Winner

For Stephanie, receiving the Youth Education Award in 2014 was about far more than the dollars and cents that went toward her educational expenses. Diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma at 3 years old, Stephanie has undergone two surgeries, both of which have had lasting repercussions.

Alexandre

Alexandre's Story: Research Studentship Recipient

Working with Dr. Pier Jr. Morin and the research team at Université de Moncton, Alexandre’s studentship project spanned two summers and sought to answer an important question for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients: is it possible to improve the current standard of care for GBM patients by identifying a genetic signature in treatment-resistant tumours?

Tommy

Tommy's Story: Fellowship recipient

Dr. Tommy Alain, the very first research Fellow funded by Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada through the William Donald Nash Brain Tumour Research Fellowship, believes that more effective treatments are needed for patients diagnosed with brain tumours. And who are we to argue?

Stephen

Stephen's Story: "I have faith that we will meet again"

Stephen and I chatted on what should have been his 32nd Wedding Anniversary. Stephen and Susan were married for 30 years and were best friends for years before that, having met at school. They adopted two daughters who made their family complete. After years of happy marriage, a weird sensation in Susan’s arm sent her to a physician who suspected carpal tunnel, but who also wondered if there could be something more. A CT scan revealed a potential issue, a MRI revealed a brain tumour.

Pablo

Pablo's Story: The real blessing in all of this

In 2010, Pablo found himself in the ER eight times within six weeks. Intense headaches, drastic weight loss, jaundice, dizziness, and lapses in time were repeatedly dismissed by doctors, but Pablo knew that something was very wrong. Choosing to advocate for his health when others might have given up, Pablo sought out the opinion of his family practitioner and his persistence may have, in fact, saved his life. An MRI revealed a grade IV atypical meningioma on Pablo’s brain.

Sandra

Sandra's Story: Feeling Fortunate

At the age of thirty, Sandra Lisi heard the words “You have a brain tumour” for the first time. Sandra was diagnosed with a Chordoma, a rare type of tumour that occurs at the base of the skull. “I was very fortunate and still feel very fortunate because the first operation was a success,” said Sandra.

Ashley

Ashley's Story for Advocacy

Ashley was newly married, working in a new job as an Accountant, and newly pregnant, when doctors became concerned that her morning sickness could be something more serious. Ashley shares her experience in this compelling video and explains why she is now determined to take her life back and to advocate for brain cancer.

Steve and Iris Rawlings Story of Hope

Steve and Iris Rawlings Story of Hope

Stephen was diagnosed with an anaplastic oligodendroglioma (grade III) in November of 2015 at the age of 53 years old, and shares his personal experiences through diagnosis and treatment including an awake craniotomy; while Iris, an emergency room nurse, shares her personal experience as a caregiver not only to her husband but also to their daughter who was diagnosed with a pineal adenoma tumour (grade I) eight years ago. The Rawlings story is one of hope, support and perseverance.

Todd

Todd's story: There's a cookie in my head

Bike rides and hockey are what seven year old boys should be concerned with. Todd was seven years old when he had a bike accident while riding down a hill. He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with concussion. That should be the worst thing that any child has to go through. A couple months later and Todd was waking up in the middle of the night vomiting and suffering terrible headaches.

John

John's Story: “I'm going to do as much as I can with each day”

When John Hatcher laces up his running shoes on Saturday, October 2, 2016, he joins over a dozen of his family members and friends for the Newfoundland & Labrador Brain Tumour Walk as team Astro-Blasters. "It's our first year," he explains, "and knowing first-hand how little is said or recognized about brain tumours, we want to help any way we can."

Theresa

Theresa's Story: When there’s a will, there’s a way

For Theresa Acchione Parkinson, it’s been 15 years since her father passed away from glioblastoma brain cancer. And while Theresa hadn’t heard of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada while her dad was alive, a few years after his passing, she discovered the charity soon after moving to Calgary. “It was almost odd – it felt like I started hearing about brain tumours everywhere,” recalls Theresa. “And despite my mourning for Dad, I knew I wanted to give back to other families facing this same battle.

Bloom Family

Bloom Family's Story: Finding hope amid the grief

When you look back at Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada’s history, it’s clear that at the heart of the organization are the patients, survivors and loved ones who care for those diagnosed. It’s this amazing community of supporters – even amidst what is often a life-changing journey – who volunteer their time, host fundraising events and donate in memory of those they’ve lost to the disease.

Brian

Brian's Story: “I’m fighting this cancer inside and out”

“I look better than ever!” – it’s a statement you might hear when someone is newly retired and finally has the time to workout and eat properly. But for Brian Cole, it’s what comes after that exclamation that sets him apart. “I look better than ever!” he says, continuing, “but I have terminal brain cancer and might not see my retirement now.”

Lilli

Lilli's Story: "Not so benign"

When Team Jack and Lil laced up their sneakers for the 2016 Toronto Brain Tumour Walk, it was the first time that team captain Lilli took part in the annual fundraiser. But for Lilli, who named the team after a “term of an endearment” she has for her own brain tumour and the popular Jack and Jill nursery rhyme, it was also a bittersweet occasion.

Finley

Finley's Story: “Things are really different now than they were two, even one year ago!”

This June, 7-year-old Finley Kroeker will take part in the 2016 Winnipeg Brain Tumour Walk for his first time. Over the past two years, Finley has gone through more than what most people do their entire lives – and his brain tumour journey continues still.

Jerfield

Jerfield's Story: “We felt loved and that helped us to stay strong.”

The world first heard of Baby Gordie this past spring, when his parents, Joshua and Jerfield, shared their family’s tragic story: Baby Gordie, just one month old, had a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer – one that sadly took his very short life on March 18, 2016.

Candace

Candace's Story: "A real rollercoaster"

For the past six years, Candace Graham’s life has been full of ups and downs – a “real rollercoaster,” she says. But still, this 32-year-old doesn’t let her circumstances set the tone for her life. Candace is a brain cancer survivor and this is her incredible story.

Benoit

Benoit's Story: "There’s no tempting Lucky Number 7!”

For 30-year-old Benoit Poudrier, the past three years have been a journey to say the least. But despite six brain surgeries, meningitis, and blood clots in his legs due to hospital stays, this brain tumour survivor has kept his sense of humour. “I had six brain surgeries total by April 2015, and I certainly don’t want anymore. For me, there’s no tempting Lucky Number 7!”

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Featured Story

Hayden's Story: The eyes have it

Eyes might be the window to the soul, but in Hayden’s case, they were telling her Mom that something was seriously wrong with her baby. Hayden’s Mom, Candice, is forever grateful to the ER physician who spotted her brain tumour and the health care professional team who subsequently saved her eyesight. Candice is now advocating for every parent to look to the eyes.

Learn more

Spotlight

Tracey’s Story: Hope and Optimism

Headaches are like house guests. Some come and go. Others don’t want to leave; and become a real nuisance. Tracey’s headache lasted a...

Learn more

Andrew’s story of being tough

What do you see when you look in the mirror? When Andrew’s friend looked at him, he saw an immensely tough person and wanted to let...

Learn more

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